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NCIC Calls for Dialogue to Promote Peace and Cohesion

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has urged the government and the opposition to give dialogue a chance through bipartisan talks in order to promote peace and cohesion among citizens.

The Commission cautioned Kenyans against descending into violence and anarchy stressing it is not the solution to the strenuous cost of living in the country. They instead advocated for good relations, harmony, and peaceful coexistence of different ethnic, racial, and religious groups.

Addressing the media, NCIC Vice Chairperson Ms Wambui Nyutu noted with great concern, the loss of lives, and a trail of massive destruction of both public and private property in most parts of the country as a result of the demonstrations that took place on Wednesday, July 12 and also condoled with the families and friends of those who lost their loved ones in the unfortunate mayhem.

“We condemn the killing of innocent Kenyans, tear-gassing of learning institutions, and the burning of the Kenyan flag. This is an impediment to all the political, economic, and social gains we have made as a country over the years,” expressed Nyutu.

She further added that whereas the Constitution 2010 guarantees the rights to freedom of expression as well as freedom of peaceful assembly and human rights, this freedom is restricted when it leads to provocation of imminent violence as witnessed on Wednesday the previous week.

The Vice Chairperson observed that the last few demonstrations had degenerated into ethnic-based conflict and violence and that as a commission, together with their key partners, they have invested huge amounts of resources that had since brought peaceful coexistence.

“According to the National Crime Research Center Report 2017, there are 326 groups of criminal gangs hence, youth mobilization to engage in violent conflicts has provided fodder for criminal and armed militia gangs across the affected areas,” Nyutu disclosed.

The Commission, she continued, has urged the mobilizers of these youth and militia to stop taking advantage of these vulnerable groups as she quoted the 31st American Herbert Hoover who said; ‘Older men declare war but it’s the youth that must fight and die.’

Further, in the spirit of inclusivity, she announced that the Commission is calling on all demonstrators to exercise tolerance and picket peacefully since it’s quite disheartening to see young people provoking law enforcement officers as well as destroying property worth billions, bullying and harassing innocent Kenyans.

Nyutu appealed to the police to implement their mandate within the confines of the law and avoid human rights abuses which include the use of live ammunition to disperse crowds as every life matters.

“We discourage the rise in misinformation and disinformation bordering on hate speech and ethnic contempt across the social media platform and urge netizens to avoid forwarding unverified information that escalates tension amongst our communities. As a Commission, we reiterate our commitment to ensuring that we jealously protect Kenya’s peace and cohesion because we cannot afford to slide to the 2007/2008 post-election violence episode,” she maintained.

By Susan Gichanja and Daisy Masinde

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